It had issued a circular on August 21, 2010 asking schools to set up such clubs, but not satisfied with the progress, the government has now made it compulsory for the schools to set up the clubs.
The government initiative comes in the wake of the oft-articulated concern about the deteriorating impact of the modern lifestyles on children across State over the last few years. It is stated that the initiative to make these clubs mandatory was mooted by the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri.
While Education Department officials state that the health clubs were already in place across the State over the last few years, it has now taken a proactive stance for making it mandatory in all its schools.
“The clubs are just a forum to ensure that the physical health of every school child is monitored,” an officer of the Department of Education told Deccan Herald.
However, health clubs in this context are radically different from the similar-named gyms in five-star hotels. The government concept of a school health club is just a rudimentary, first level check-up of students by teachers. Last year’s circular had asked all secondary schools to have two nodal teachers for the club, a regular teacher and the Physical Education teacher to monitor the children on a regular basis. The children would undego initial screening by the teachers for any health problems, and would be referred to a doctor. The Department had also suggested competitions for generating awareness among students, like painting, book readings and other activities for the health clubs.
“We have tied up with the Lions and Rotary clubs to avail services of doctor among their members,” the officer said. In case of serious medical issues and emergency, the nodal teachers will facilitate to take the the children to the nearest government hospital for treatment.
Officers estimate that 536 primary and secondary schools across the State would have the health clubs that were to be up and running by September 9, 2010.
“We have almost covered 70 to 80 percent of our schools by initiating these clubs.
However, there are a few more schools which need to set up these clubs,” said the official. In Bangalore, however, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has stated that the circular is yet to reach it and it was not aware about the details of these clubs.